Eczema Does Not Deserve Me
Ever feel like eczema is just kicking your a** all day long? Does the pain make you feel like giving up on life? Well, I can relate! Hi, my name is Teresa Alabata and I have been an eczema warrior – no, VETERAN! – for the past 30 years. Despite my many decades of being on this brutal, blistering battlefield, I am still here and I am still hopeful for the future of our community.
What has helped me get through eczema?
If there has been anything that has helped me get through my eczema, it has been my pride. Even during the most agonizing itchfest, when I really felt like I was Wolverine tearing through my skin, I have always had a sense of feeling too proud to give up. Maybe it's the Filipino in me. But I figure if I'm going to die, I'm going to die on my terms and in a way that I can be proud of. Sure, you can’t predict or control life, and there might be a freak accident or a pandemic that will take you before you're ready. But while you're still alive, you can still choose to create your life experience to be as pleasant as possible.
Eczema is not my life
In my head, I just don't think that eczema deserves to take my life. It has been an experience that has been so painful and that has caused so much stress and uncertainty in my life that I don't think it is worthy of my existence. I'm sure I will still have times when there might be a trigger that makes me itchy. There might be an experience or an interaction with someone else that irritates me to the point of scratching. But none of it, I think, is worthy of me and worthy of giving up on all the opportunities that the rest of life has to offer.
I have many inspiring peers
I see people online who have eczema who still perform beautiful music (check out Linette Roungchun and Madelaine De Leon on Instagram for some awesome eczema performers). I see people with eczema who still find a way to express themselves creatively through art beautifully (@eczema_art and @wisertimez on Instagram are great examples). There are eczema warriors who have written life-changing books/blogs/social media posts about their experience living with eczema (Cara Ward and Nina Adjin are the first that come to mind). There is even Daniel Boey, a very successful fashion stylist who still has eczema, has managed to have a very successful career internationally and has written a book about eczema. (He was even one of the judges on Asia’s Next Top Model!) So even though eczema feels like you're dying on the inside everyday, everyday is still an opportunity to do something great, even if it is just for yourself.
Perfect skin doesn't guarantee happiness
There's no law or rule book that says that perfect skin is the answer to all problems. There are celebrities with amazing estheticians, nutritionists, and fitness trainers who have flawless skin and bodies who have miserable lives or have dysfunctional relationships. Even if you have everything in the world health-wise and wealth-wise, it doesn't guarantee happiness or fulfillment.
I will live my best life
Pain is painful and I understand the people who can't take it and decide to give up on everything. But for me the pain is worth the pleasure that I get when I survive another day. When I die it will not be because of my eczema because eczema itself is not fatal. When I die, I will at least die trying to make my life the best it could possibly be.
It's Eczema Awareness Month! Have you shared your eczema story on AtopicDermatitis.net?